In case you're still accepting...
(Yes, she really does dress like that, minus the bow)
Xiaomei does not express emotion often. Most of the time, her facial expression says "I am not impressed." Instead, she expresses herself through her many creations. She has a certain snobbishness when it comes to what passes for aesthetics and design in the modern world. So much so that as much as possible, she avoids normal mass-produced clothing, possessions, etc. and tries to live in a world of her own creation (and that of other DIY/Maker types like herself). She's generally standoffish, knowing full well that people think she's weird. After Z-Day, she has tried to become more sociable since she believes that now more than ever, people need to bloody cooperate
already, but she also finds it hard to trust, because it seems too many people think the Hobbesian/Darwinian route is the way to go.
Xiaomei loves to learn new skills, especially if they involve creating needed goods and services. Skills are trade goods that no one can take away.
Ugliness: Xiaomei has something akin to a mental allergy to ugliness. Just going around in an average modern city or suburb pre-Z was like having to listen to constant loud fingernails-on-chalkboard. Before
everything went to crap. She fears that now, she may end up spending the rest of her life wearing filthy, scavenged rags of clothes that were sloppy and ugly even when they were brand new, surrounded by a world turned to broken-down walking-corpse-infested garbage in which nothing of beauty survives. She intends to stave off that fate as long as possible, even if that means her actions, choices of equipment, etc. are not entirely practical.
Turning into a Zed.
Turning into the kind of person who can kill other human beings or indifferently watch them suffer without qualms; the whole "you have to become a barbarian to survive in a hard world" thing. Also, the social equivalent: that if the Zeds don't win, human brutes will, and what's left of humanity will be thrown back into a vicious Dark Age, or worse.
Losing the Imladris
Guns. She's never liked them, and now they (in the hands of the wrong sort of people) are a bigger threat than the zombies.
Xiaomei's parents were high-flying Chinese businesspeople in Hong Kong, and she grew up hating
the push-push-push, faster-faster-faster, more-more-more lifestyle they led (and tried to teach her to lead) in the insatiable quest for Success. As soon as she got the chance, she left for the UK on a student visa (ostensibly to study business), then switched her major to sustainable design, with minors in art and fashion design. After school, she traveled around, making her living creating making and selling costumes, armor, and gear at renaissance fairs, steampunk festivals, science fiction and fantasy conventions, as well as selling her wares over the internet. For this, her parents disowned her.
Xiaomei had long been expecting Collapse to come; many of her life choices had revolved around preparing for it. In her view, the endless exponential growth financial-industrial capitalism required to survive was mathematically impossible on a finite planet. Over several years, she created the Imladris
as a home so she could live and travel sustainably off-grid. Before Z-Day, she often chided the "apocalyptic" Doomer types on her blog. In reality (or so she often said), the decline and fall of a civilization is a long, painful, bumpy process
that takes place over one or more centuries
. The people who were expecting and preparing for an instant, total financial collapse or a "zombie apocalypse" would find themselves SOL when reality served up gradual worsening of circumstances punctuated by the stair-step tumbles of the occasional Greater Depression or world war until humanity's descendants found themselves herding sheep under crumbling overpasses, rather than a situation where a bunker stuffed with guns, gold, and canned beans would ever prove useful.
Xiaomei has had to eat those words--or would
have had to, if there was still an internet.
Weapon: Hand-and-a-half sword
, a "transforming castle truck" that looks and functions a lot like this
, but with more Art Nouveau and Celtic design elements. It runs on biodiesel Xiaomei makes from french fry grease or vegetable oil (these are obviously becoming much harder to lay hands on in quantity). It took her years to create, contains her workshop, tools, books, and supplies, and she values it very highly.
, a wooden recumbent trike
Xiaomei traded a suit of armor and an Elven costume for, and this bike cargo trailer
(minus the signs).
Historical European Martial Arts (German and Italian style longsword combat)
Sewing, leather working, metal working, wood working, bicycle maintenance, some permaculture. Basic electronics (enough to wire up a solar power system, hook up lights and switches and the like). She also brewed her first batch of mead just before the zombies came.
London (will change to NY if desired)